Executive Vice President/General Manager/Alternate Governor
Former Avalanche captain Joe Sakic was named Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations on May 10, 2013 and begins his third season of overseeing all hockey-related decisions for the club. Sakic added the title of General Manager during the summer of 2014.
The Avalanche’s .616 winning percentage over the past two years ranks fourth in the Western Conference behind Anaheim (.686%), St. Louis (.671%) and Chicago (.637%). In Sakic’s first season in this role, the Avalanche tied a franchise record with 52 wins and won the 2013-14 Central Division championship.
The 2015 offseason saw the Avalanche acquire and sign Carl Soderberg, bring in six players via trade with Buffalo, sign unrestricted free agents Francois Beauchemin and Blake Comeau and select Mikko Rantanen with the 10th overall pick in the NHL Draft.
Sakic’s first move as executive vice president was to name Patrick Roy as Head Coach/Vice President of Hockey Operations on May 23, 2013. A month later, Sakic announced Nathan MacKinnon as the first overall pick at the 2013 NHL Draft. Roy went on to win the Jack Adams Award as the coach of the year, while MacKinnon went on to be the recipient of the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie. The Avs won a total of three trophies at the 2014 NHL Awards, matching Boston for the most of any team.
In just his first nine months on the job, Sakic announced long-term contract extensions for Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Semyon Varlamov, locking in the core of the Avalanche through at least the 2018-19 season.
The 2015-16 campaign marks Joe’s fifth season overall in the front office, as he spent two years as the organization’s Executive Advisor/Alternate Governor. He was hired for that position on March 25, 2011.
Sakic, 46, announced his retirement from the game of hockey on July 9, 2009, following a career that spanned 20 seasons and 1,378 games with the same organization. He wore the ‘C’ as team captain for 16 consecutive seasons (17 seasons overall), making him the second-longest serving captain in NHL history. Sakic led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup titles (1996, 2001), which included the city of Denver’s first major professional sports championship in 1996. The Burnaby, B.C., native captured the franchise’s first Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2001, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1996, earned the Lester B. Pearson Award (NHLPA MVP) and Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship) in 2001 and was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team on three occasions (2001, 2002 and 2004).
Sakic was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, his first year of eligibility. The only player who spent his entire career with the Avalanche organization to achieve that honor, Sakic was officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, 2012.
Sakic retired as the eighth-highest scorer in NHL history with 1,641 career points. He ranked seventh all-time in both playoff goals (84) and playoff points (188-tied), and still holds the NHL record with eight postseason overtime goals.
Selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the first round (15th overall) of the 1987 Entry Draft, Sakic is the franchise’s all-time leader in nearly every statistical category. With Sakic as team captain, the Avalanche/Nordiques captured an NHL-record nine consecutive division championships from 1995 to 2003. In addition to its two Stanley Cup titles, the Avalanche also won two Presidents’ Trophies and made six appearances in the Western Conference Finals during that time span.
Sakic’s No. 19 jersey was retired by the Avalanche during a pre-game ceremony on Oct. 1, 2009.
Joe and his wife, Debbie, have three children: Mitchell and twins Chase and Kamryn. Joe and Debbie are active with the Food Bank of the Rockies charity, and Joe hosts his own charity golf tournament to benefit the Food Bank every summer in Denver. Sakic was awarded the 2007 NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community.